RUTF is a tasty, energy-packed paste made from peanuts, oil, sugar, milk powder and vitamin and mineral supplements, it is the most effective tool for treating acute and severe acute malnutrition (SAM), which, every year, threatens millions of children worldwide.
RUTF is easy to ship and administer. It doesn’t require refrigeration and stays fresh for up to two years. Best of all, no mixing with potentially contaminated water is required. Each 100-gram single-serving packet comes ready-to-eat. All parents have to do is what comes naturally: Open the packet, feed their children and watch them grow healthy and strong.
UNICEF is the global leader in RUTF procurement, purchasing and distributing eighty percent of the world’s supply. UNICEF works with manufacturers to increase supplies of the product and keep prices down. One carton of RUTF contains 150 packets, enough for one six- to eight-week course of treatment to restore the health of a severely malnourished child.
Today, the global need for RUTF is greater than ever before as an unprecedented humanitarian emergency looms across 3 regions and 13 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The lives of 80 million people — more than half of them children — are threatened by alarming levels of food insecurity.
War, displacement, climate change and drought have created unprecedented food emergencies that affect children in the following countries:
- Lake Chad Basin: Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria
- Eastern Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda
- Middle East/Northern Africa: Djibouti and Yemen
The advantage of RUTF is that it is a ready-to-use paste which does not need to be mixed with water, thereby avoiding the risk of bacterial proliferation in case of accidental contamination. The product, which is based on peanut butter mixed with dried skimmed milk and vitamins and minerals, can be consumed directly by the child and provides sufficient nutrient intake for complete recovery. It can be stored for three to four months without refrigeration, even at tropical temperatures. Local production of RUTF paste is already under way in several countries including Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger.